Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Typhoon Mangkhut heads towards China

Rescuers on the island of Luzon are ready for the super typhoon's arrival Image Rescuers on the island of Luzon are ready for the super typhoon's arrival
Kenny Thornton | 16 September, 2018, 12:11

Typhoon Mangkhut has been downgraded from super typhoon status, but is still the strongest storm this year so far, with gusts of up to 200mph.

Police Director General Oscar Albayalde told The Associated Press that 20 had died in the Cordillera region, four in Nueva Vizcaya province and another outside of the two regions, as the typhoon battered the rice-growing and mountain area on Saturday.

There were no immediate reports of casualties after super typhoon Mangkhut, a category 5 storm, entered the province of Cagayan in the early hours and sent winds and rains across the entire main island of Luzon.

Hong Kong raised its highest No. 10 typhoon signal at mid-morning, as fierce waves pounded low-lying areas and strong winds rattled windows in many towering skyscrapers.

Hong Kong braced for heavy rain and wind as Typhoon Mangkhut barreled toward the city Sunday, regaining some strength after taking a powerful swipe at the Philippines a day prior that left at least 28 people dead.

Philippine authorities said a baby and a toddler were among the 29 dead, a lot of them in landslides in mountainous areas that left at least 13 missing.

Tolentino and other officials advised them not to return home until the lingering danger had passed.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut, an extremely risky Category 5 cyclone in the Pacific known as Super Typhoon Ompong in the Philippines, made landfall in the Philippines on September 15.

In all, three dozen provinces were also under storm warnings.

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Mangkhut, the Thai name for Southeast Asia's mangosteen fruit, was expected to skirt 100 km south of Hong Kong and veer west towards the coast of China's southern Guangdong province, and the gaming centre of Macau. Authorities are also checking what happened to about 70 men who reportedly returned to their coastal village to check on their homes during the typhoon onslaught.

On Friday, parts of Luzon were placed under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 4 by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, meaning those areas could expect winds of up to 185 kilometers per hour (114 mph) that could uproot trees, destroy crops, take out electricity and damage buildings.

The storm could hit Hong Kong and China's Pearl River Delta area, which has more than 60 million people and is a manufacturing hub.

"Almost all of the buildings here have been damaged, the roofs were blown away", said Rogelio Sending, a government official in Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan.

The DILG urged local chief executives as heads of their Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMCs) not to delay in issuing action plans to evacuate vulnerable residents.

There's a chance Mangkhut will weaken as it approaches China, said Jeff Masters, a meteorologist with Weather Underground, an IBM company in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

If the typhoon stays its course, Mangkhut could cause about $120 billion in damage in China and Hong Kong - said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.

It is heading towards Hong Kong, where Security Minister John Lee Ka-chiu warned residents it would be bringing "winds and rains of extraordinary speeds, scope and severity".

The typhoon is forecast to directly impact the northern region of Vietnam, causing heavy rains until next week, posing flashflood and landslide threats in the northern uplands and north central region. Airlines such as flagship carrier Cathay Pacific canceled many flights last week.

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